A trip through Africa….
Ever since Willy Gauss arrived by plane in 1974 in South Africa it was his dream to one day drive back through Africa by car. Dreams don’t come easy however and the time required is not available once you establish a business career, bring children through their education programme and establish a solid home for your family.
Throughout the years the idea always popped up again and became a bit more established when Kevin Farr and Mark Baxter also took a liking to this and soon other friends like Andre and Rene de Kock as well as Paul Brings became interested.
With Kevin Farr taking the lead and Mark Baxter getting a group of bikers together the idea became a project and the group met for the first time in early 2009 and began in all sincerity to plan this voyage.
Who can go , who has leave ,who can leave his business alone for 2-3 Months – basically none of the group members could answer these questions positively but then all were convinced that if one does not do it now- it would never happen and regrets would follow in later stages of live.
A big thank you must go to the families of the team members who for various reasons cannot join the trip – their support and well wishes meant a lot to the individuals who would otherwise have been more hesitant to leave their loved ones alone for 2-3 Months.
Monthly meetings became the norm – Willy was elected chairperson, Mark became the treasurer and Andre the secretary in charge of keeping all minutes and administrative staff together. The most important portfolio was taken by Kevin Farr whose task would be to identify the most suitable route from East London in South Africa all the way up to Freudenstadt in Germany (Willy’s place of birth)
Kevin spend days and hours evaluating routes , getting GPS points , camping places and fuel points on paper which would then be discussed amongst the members for changes and approvals.
A suitable tour name had to be found and after much deliberation the group came up with ELAO 2011 short for East Londoners Odyssey through Africa in 2011.
After the 12th meeting the final route was established with provisional dates which would lead the group along the following path:
|03-Jun||1||Friday||EL||Empangeni – Canefields||815||815|
|04-Jun||2||Saturday||Empangeni||Honeypot (Xai Xai)||615||1430|
|05-Jun||3||Sunday||Honeypot (Xai Xai)||Seta Hotel (inhasorro)||565||1995|
|06-Jun||4||Monday||Seta Hotel (inhasorro)||Gorongosa camp||420||2415|
|07-Jun||5||Tuesday||Gorongosa camp||Gorongosa camp||0||2415|
|08-Jun||6||Wednesday||Gorongosa camp||Mocuba Mission||594||3009|
|09-Jun||7||Thursday||Mocuba Mission||Nampula – Complexo Turistioco Montes Nairucu||395||3404|
|10-Jun||8||Friday||Nampula||Pemba- Russels place||436||3840|
|13-Jun||11||Monday||Mueda||Lindi -Adela Guest House||483||4684|
|14-Jun||12||Tuesday||Lindi -Adela Guest House||Dar – Silver Sands Camp grounds||0|
|15-Jun||13||Wednesday||Dar – Silver Sands Camp grounds||Dar – Silver Sands Camp grounds||0|
|16-Jun||14||Thursday||Dar – Silver Sands Camp grounds||CLUB 15 Watamu||600||5284|
|17-Jun||15||Friday||CLUB 15 Watamu||CLUB 15 Watamu||0||5284|
|18-Jun||16||Saturday||CLUB 15 Watamu||CLUB 15 Watamu||0||5284|
|19-Jun||17||Sunday||CLUB 15 Watamu||Kilimanjaro Guest House||424||5708|
|20-Jun||18||Monday||Kilimanjaro Guest House||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||239||5947|
|21-Jun||19||Tuesday||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||0||5947|
|22-Jun||20||Wednesday||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||0||5947|
|23-Jun||21||Thursday||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||0||5947|
|24-Jun||22||Friday||JUNGLE JUNCTION NAIROBI||Maralal||338||6285|
|25-Jun||23||Saturday||Maralal||Lake Turkana – Palm Shade Camp||232||6623|
|26-Jun||24||Sunday||Lake Turkana – Palm Shade Camp||Lake Turkana – Palm Shade Camp||0||6855|
|27-Jun||25||Monday||Lake Turkana – Palm Shade Camp||Lake Turkana – Palm Shade Camp||0||6855|
|28-Jun||26||Tuesday||Lake Turkana – Palm Shade Camp||Moyale Kenya Wildlife camp||479||7334|
|29-Jun||27||Wednesday||Moyale Kenya Wildlife camp||Awassa – Adenium Guest House||503||7837|
|30-Jun||28||Thursday||Awassa – Adenium Guest House||Adis Ababa -Bel Air Rooftop Camping||274||8111|
|01-Jul||29||Friday||Adis Ababa -Bel Air Rooftop Camping||Adis Ababa -Bel Air Rooftop Camping||0||8111|
|02-Jul||30||Saturday||Adis Ababa -Bel Air Rooftop Camping||Ghion Hotel – Bahir Dar||552||8663|
|03-Jul||31||Sunday||Ghion Hotel – Bahir Dar||Lalibela -Jerusalem Guesthouse||311||8974|
|04-Jul||32||Monday||Lalibela -Jerusalem Guesthouse||Lalibela -Jerusalem Guesthouse||0||8974|
|05-Jul||33||Tuesday||Lalibela||Axum – africa hotel\||393||9367|
|06-Jul||34||Wednesday||Axum||Gonder GOHA HOTEL||354||9721|
|07-Jul||35||Thursday||Gonder||Gedaref – Bush Camp||276||9997|
|08-Jul||36||Friday||Gedaret||Khartoum Blue Nile Sailing Club||503||10500|
|09-Jul||37||Saturday||Khartoum||Dongola -Kerma Desert||565||11065|
|10-Jul||38||Sunday||Dongola -Kerma Desert||Wadi Halfa – Deffintoad Hotel||368||11433|
|11-Jul||39||Monday||Wadi Halfa||Wadi Halfa||138||11571|
|12-Jul||40||Tuesday||Wadi Halfa||Wadi Halfa||0||11571|
|13-Jul||41||Wednesday||Wadi Halfa – Ferry||Lake aswan||390||11961|
|14-Jul||42||Thursday||Assuan||Assuan Hathor Hotel||0||11961|
|15-Jul||43||Friday||Assuan Hathor Hotel||Assuan Hathor Hotel||248||12209|
|16-Jul||44||Saturday||Assuan Hathor Hotel||Assuan Hathor Hotel||316||12525|
|17-Jul||45||Sunday||Assuan Hathor Hotel||Desert camp||450||12975|
|18-Jul||46||Monday||De sert camp||Cairo – Motel Salma Campsite||417||13392|
|19-Jul||47||Tuesday||Cairo – Motel Salma Campsite||Cairo – Motel Salma Campsite||0||13392|
|20-Jul||48||Wednesday||Cairo – Motel Salma Campsite||Mersa Matruh||515||13907|
|21-Jul||49||Thursday||Mersa Matruh||Adjabiya (Libya) – Desert Camp||751||14658|
|22-Jul||50||Friday||Adjabiya (Libya)||Abugri – Desert Camp||526||15184|
|23-Jul||51||Saturday||Abugri||Libyan Border – Desert/Beach Campo||477||15661|
|24-Jul||52||Sunday||Libyan Border – Desert/Beach Campo||Tunis – Acqua Viva Hotel||561||16222|
|25-Jul||53||Monday||Tunis – Acqua Viva Hotel||Tunis – Acqua Viva Hotel||0||16222|
The tasks now became a bit more serious as the group started to enquire about Visa application forms as well as carne de passages ( the customs paper one needs when bringing a vehicle through a country ) vehicle insurance as well as medical and general travel insurance.
Visa papers had to be filled out with some countries even wanting to see the latest bank statements of individual members as part of their visa application process.
On the health side advice by local doctors and the local travel clinic soon saw the group members becoming frequent visitors to the travel clinic for injections against yellow fever , meningitis , hepatitis and many more prcautions against potential diseases on could pick up on route through Africa.
To take or not to take precaution against malaria was debated with all the pros and cons but no common ground could be found – leaving some members taking malaria test kids on the trip with the intention to cure Malaria through suitable medicine once tested positive. Other members were convinced that taking daily or weekly preventative medication would be the way to go despite the known side effects. Hopefully the trip will show that both groups made the right decision.
Motor cars needed to be sourced and kitted out to suit the needs of the various teams and the bikers eventually decided on their own support vehicle after much resistance from the car drivers to cater for their specific needs and extra luggage.
The group will therefor consist of 4 Land cruisers , 1 Pajero , 1 Bakkie and 2 KTM motorbikes all carrying and sharing spare parts as decided by the individual teams. A local motor car mechanic – Michael – from Michaels motors was sworn in to fly out with all necessities in case where a major break down and lack of technical knowledge would leave a car or bike stranded .
So there we are – thinking of being the best prepared team ever to cross the continent but at the same time being fully aware of uncontrollable and unforeseen obstacles. The mind and nature of the individual makeup of the group should however be able to overcome whatever problems lie ahead.
The really big sad note however is that the group lost its good friend , navigator , chief animator and “not a problem man” .
Kevin Farr passed away on 21st May 2011 , a mere 2 weeks before take-off.
He died after fighting cancer for many years, many chemo treatments, radiation and body scans but until the end he was a committed member ready to go on tour and spend endless days assisting in the planning and execution of this trip.
His Safari chair will go with the group and be put up in all the places which they visit and despite that one knows that he cannot be there he will almost be amongst the members of this tour .
The group salutes Kevin Farr and all other cancer sufferers out there – true to Kevin’s motto:
“It’s not the Years in Live that count but the Live in all these Years is what’s important”
Africa we are looking forward to meet you in 2011
Meeting the rest of you in 2014
Lipstick going South – West Coast of Africa 2014
3 years have passed since team Lipstick went up north along the East Coast of Africa through Europe to Germany. During our return to East London the idea to completethe return trip from Europe down south along the west coast of Africa was born.
The originator of the ELAO trips – Kevin Farr’sdream was to circumnavigate Africa by traveling up the East coast, across the North coast and down the West coast back to East London before he unfortunately passed away just before the first trip in 2011.Team lipstick hereby dedicates this overland adventure to him.
Once again detailed preparation was essential with the mammoth task of obtaining the necessary visas upfront as the most frustrating and burdened same task of all. The formalities and requirements by many of the west African countries are phenomenal, bank statements, employment contracts, invitation letters, hotel bookings, fingerprints carnet de passage , vehicle licence have to be submitted and the average time for a visa approval takes about 5-7 days.
With the help of a Visa agent – MSD VISAPAK – in Johannesburg this task was started in early April 2014 and has become extremely painful due to ever changing requirements by the Embassies.
With only 2 weeks to goonly half of all the visas have been secured with 2 passports per person moving backwards and forwards between embassies, the team is still not sure if and when the rest will be completed. Through friends and associates, contacts were located in the various countries from whom invitation letters were received and hopefully all visas will be completed before the teams take off date on 15th June 2014.05.15
Lipstick was sent off on 24th April in a container by ship and is due to arrive in Bremen on 28th May
The plan is that Willy will fetch Lipstick in Bremen on 4th July and then drive it down to Morocco where he will meet Andre on the 15th of June in Casablanca where he will join the expedition.
Only 20% of over landers traveling from North to South across Africa choose to follow the west coast route as you have more countries to transverse with- most of the adventurers that have followed this route in the past 2 years reporting all sorts of problems of which none were unsurmountable.
Team Lipstick is looking forward to meeting other teams and adventures on the way down south and you can follow their trip from time to time on this web page as from 15th June 2014.05.15
Unfortunately Team Bulldog and Icevan who accompanied Team Lipstick in 2011 cannot take part this year due to work commitments and as an alternative adventurethey have chosen to do a “backyard trip” from South Africa to the northern borders of Namibia and back. We wish them goodluck, full tyres and tanks.